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The Best in Family Vacations &
Adventure Vacations
Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
Six days, Class III-IV

Value Season Departure Dates
May 28; June 6 (Hiking), 15; August 19


Peak Season Departure Dates

June 24; July 2, 10, 18, 26; August 3, 11


A visit to Idaho makes one feel like they have just stepped back into an America that existed several hundreds of years ago – an intensely wild and beautiful land not yet touched by modern development. Idaho is one of the country’s final frontiers, showcasing miles of protected wilderness areas that show very little change since they first appeared on the U.S. map. Amongst the valleys, mountains, forests and canyons of these wild regions lie a multitude of opportunities for almost any outdoor adventure imaginable – hiking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and our favorite - rafting on the nearly 3,100 miles of rushing water that pulse through the states backcountry.

Idaho's rivers allow us to gain access to some of the most natural terrain in the state. The region is home to rich flora and fauna life, a large network of backcrountry trails, and some of the nation’s most outstanding whitewater. Of all the rivers that make their way through Idaho, possibly the most spectacular is the Middle Fork section of the Salmon River. Thought to be the state's blue ribbon river, it boasts Class III-IV whitewater one after the other, hot springs, and first class fishing. Add to this the scenery – green meadows that reach towards the base of incredible mountains, canyons ribboned by waterfalls, richly colored green woodlands and grassy hills covered with wildflowers and the beauty and diversity of the Middle Fork becomes overwhelming. Join O.A.R.S. DORIES and experience what a great river vacation on this breathtaking Region can be like.

Why the Middle Fork Salmon?
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the premier alpine river trips in the country. Join us to see why this superlative adventure is becoming as legendary as rafting through the Grand Canyon.

•  Rated a Class IV river, the Middle Fork of the Salmon boasts more rapids than any river of a similar length in the U.S. – over 100 rapids in the dame number of miles. At each turn a new tributary joins the river, the Middle Fork changes dramatically from a large creek to a thundering river, and has plenty of rolling wave trains and intense drops to show for it.

•  The fish begin to run when the big waters of the Middle Fork begin to slow – typically in July. The Middle Fork Salmon supports a catch & release fishery for the Blue Ribbon trout, and the river is teeming with these 12-15 inch beauties. This is ideal for the avid angler in you.

•  Autumn is the best time to take advantage of the rivers prime fishing. During the months of September and October, there is a significant decrease in exposing dozens of trout-filled pools that provide even more opportunities to cast a line. We also offer fly-fishing departures during these months.

• Ask us about our Women-Only Fishing Adventure in September.

•  The ever changing terrain is one of the most noted highlights of the Middle Fork Salmon. Beginning at an elevation of 6000 feet, the Middle Fork starts as a high alpine river. As it continues, the landscape changes drastically as the river moves through open grasslands, forested hills, and lastly into a narrow gorge dubbed the Impassable Canyon. Along our route, fern filled creeks, and waterfalls meet the river, beaches flank its shores, and hot springs offer a refreshing break from the running rapids.

•  The Middle Fork Salmon was placed under Federal protection in 1968 following the passage of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This piece of legislation recognized the river as having “unusual scientific, aesthetic and recreational value” and stipulating that it “should be allowed to remain in a free-flowing state and natural setting without manmade alteration.” It was one of the first eight rivers that were granted the designation, and thankfully, its natural features are preserved to this day.

•  Idaho's wilderness areas have remained mostly unchanged throughout the centuries of western development and expansion. Sheepeater Indians at one time made their home on Middle Fork banks, and various relics and pictographs still remain, recountingtheir pastoral life. Remnants of the Old West days – such as deserted cabins and mines – also still exist near the river.

Middle Fork - Sample Itinerary
We pride ourselves in offering relaxed and flexible schedules. Each trip is different and will ultimately depend on the group, other trips already on the water and even the weather. The following is what your trip may be like.

The Day Before Your Trip
We'll meet in the Mountain Village Lodge conference room at 8:00 for a pre-trip meeting. This is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with your guides and fellow travelers and ask any final questions you may have. Your guides will provide you with a thorough trip orientation before passing out your waterproof river bags.

Days 1-6

•  We'll enjoy a scenic flight to meet our guides and boats at our launch site. (At certain water levels, we may be able to put in a little further upstream at Boundary Creek.) Following safety talk and brief paddling instruction, we enter into the clear blue waters of the spectacular Middle Fork. Within a matter of minutes, you'll take on your first rapid, a suitable introduction to a river whose consistent whitewater doesn't let up until it joins with the Main Salmon.

•  Our high-elevation launch site allows us breathtaking alpine scenery, and we enjoy our first day among lush green forests, striking mountains, and crystal clear waterways that make their way from the woods on into the river. If circumstances permit, we'll break for an invigorating bathe in one of the areas many natural hot springs…but only after tackling big rapids the likes of Ramshord and Velvet Falls.

•  Our first day tends to sets the pace for the following week on the river. Typically, we enjoy a few hours on the river before lunch, sometimes stopping for a moderate hike, a visit to an Indian pictograph or to explore a waterfall or hot spring.. Come lunchtime, we find ourselves on a sandy beach enjoying a delicious picnic. Once we’ve had our feast and have relaxed on the beach (or perhaps enjoyed a swim, a walk, or a game of Frisbee.), we get back into our boats for more exhilarating whitewater. Take this time to try your hand at our paddleboats or inflatable kayaks! Towards late afternoon, we make final stop for the day and set up camp; you grab your gear and set up your tent, and we see to the kitchen and “living room” – several camp chairs and the location of tonight's campfire (if permitted). Soon you are savoring a cold beverage and tasty hors d'oeuvres – delicious as all of this is, food always seems to taste better after a day of activity on the river! Read a book, take a cat nap, or relax and laugh with family and friends while we prepare your evening meal. Following another satisfying feast, the night is in your hands to spend as you wish. Music, jokes or stories may bring us together this evening; or the fire popping in the background, the sounds of the river and the enormous, star-filled sky may encourage private reflection on the surrounding wilderness that is, for the time being our home.

•  Traveling further along the river over the next few days, we'll watch the scenery transform from high mountains into gently rolling hills. Lush forests give way to open grassland dotted with tall sets of pine. The views are all quite stunning, and the river action-packed. Huge rapids the likes of Pistol Creek and Powerhouse are separated by less intense, whitewater in the form of chutes, wave trains, and drops. Our trip downstream takes us to more caves decorated by Sheepeater Indians,hot springs, , and the impressive Veil Falls, a matchless waterfall that drops into a natural amphitheatre from a towering rock overhang.

•  On the final day of our journey, the Middle Fork pushes into Impassable Canyon, a tight gorge that produces some of the most intense and uninterrupted whitewater of the trip. Paddling fast through Rubber, Redside and Hancock rapids, we’ll take pleasure in the abrupt but spectacular scenery change as the view moves from forested hills to the steep granite walls and massive boulders of Impassible canyon. We reach our take-out point on Day 6 at the rivers confluence with the Main Salmon. Although our journey has ended and you are leaving the river, we’re sure that the river will never leave you.

What's Included?
•  The trip includes 5 nights camping and 6 days rafting
•  Flight from Stanley to put-in for Indian Creek launches
•  We provide meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 6, with a limited amount of beer & wine at dinner
•  Quality expedition equipment, which includes a 2 person shared tent, sleeping bag and pad, life jacket, wetsuits for paddlers when required and waterproof bags for your gear.
•  Skilled professional river rafting guide services

What's Not Included?
•  Transportation to Stanley and back from Salmon
•  Pre / Post - vacation accommodations and meals
•  Any personal items (we will provide you with an equipment list)


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